Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
President Obama is the only person capable of speaking directly to the American people in a way that will correct the course of climate change legislation in Congress before it is too late. Congress has never been closer to enacting a price on pollution related to global warming than it is today but proposed legislation is in serious jeopardy of being torpedoed by misinformation and most importantly, a lack of leadership. Congress risks the viability of climate change law further by the method in which it passes related legislation; climate change is a long-term fight and the public must perceive it to be like other continuing programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Propaganda about the effects of cap-and-trade on the economy is one of the primary factors that could bring it down in the Senate. The opposition framed cap-and-trade as a threat to economic growth and a national energy tax; in response supporters of legislation have described it as a jobs bill. Neither are entirely true but the opposition’s argument is easier to believe, despite evidence to the contrary. (more…)
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
I’m glad that they are so proud of themselves for unanimously agreeing to do nothing! Leaders of the G8 leading industrial countries have agreed to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels by 2050.
Pretty farcical on so many levels, but on a personal, empathetic, level I’m happy for poor (rich?!) Mr Berlusconi who got a chance to shed some of the stress he’s been feeling at home with a photo op and stroll with our vaunted supreme leader and the other, merely mortal, leaders of the developed world.*
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
The week before last was the culmination of a labor of love for Sunil Paul and Claire Tomkins with the launch of the Gigaton Throwdown in DC after 18 months of hard work, researching and – as I witnessed first hand – coralling the efforts of other researchers.
What is the Gigaton Throwdown?
The Gigaton Throwdown Study was launched as a Clinton Global Initiative in 2007. It was started as a project to educate and inspire entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers to think big about solving the climate crisis. It was an effort to answer Sunil’s question, “What does it take to make a difference with clean energy technology?” (more…)
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Like many of you, I am counting down the days to Copenhagen, even making my own sort of clean energy geek’s version of an Advent calendar and putting up an LED-bedecked tree (sustainably-harvested, of course).
But, I’m beginning to worry that we won’t get there before a trade war erupts over the last-minute amendment inserted into Waxman-Markey before Friday’s 219-212 passage of the bill. According to several sources, President Obama is worried too.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
In my continuing effort to launch the CleanTechies community to the forefront of the clean energy debate – and perhaps, in some small part, because I am an insatiable gadfly – I dashed off the following letter to the New York Times yesterday.
It is tough to give much nuance to the argument in less than 200 words, but to me, there are clear connections and contradictions between the the two energy/environment Op-Eds they ran yesterday, one by Gregg Easterbrook, the other by Paul Krugman. The letter follows: (more…)
Monday, June 29th, 2009
EnergyWorks CR is going to spend the week taking a closer look at how the Senate is likely to mark-up the already near-unrecognizable Waxman-Markey bill that was passed 219-212 in the House late Friday. We will look with special attention at what is likely to happen to the transmission siting authority proposals on the Senate side, particularly in light of the recent action in the courts on FERC’s existing “backstop” authority over transmission.
Friday, June 26th, 2009
The big day has arrived for the Waxman-Markey climate bill, expected to go to the floor for a vote in the House today. A quick perusal of the Op-Ed pages this morning adds little to the debate.
NYT and The Boston Globe both offer tepid – and somewhat mournful – endorsements of the legislation, citing its symbolic significance while noting the well-publicized giveaways and leaning heavily on CBO and EPA studies out this week that downplay consumer cost increases as a result of carbon charges. A lot of “the costs of inaction, of clinging to a broken energy policy, will dwarf the costs of acting now” kind of palaver in both. Quite frankly, they are so superficial as to be disappointing — kind of like the bill itself in the minds of many. (more…)
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Update: James Hansen just got arrested while protesting against coal mining – read latest news here
The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of NASA climatologist James Hansen in this week’s issue, in which he pulls no punches on Waxman-Markey, taking the leading national environmental advocacy groups to task for supporting the legislation (even as amended), and calls the whole process “stupidity.”
As readers of CleanTechies know, I have been dismissive of Waxman-Markey in recent weeks, a piece of well-intentioned legislation that has been so watered down by compromise and competing political pressure as to be rendered meaningless as anything other than a symbol of our intention as a nation to someday act on climate change, grid conversion, and carbon control.
After getting an email from Repower America a couple nights ago, inviting me to join a conference call with Al Gore to help push the bill through, I began to feel a little like a lone voice in the wilderness on this. But, I can’t ask for much better company than Hansen. (more…)
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
A partisan divide, climate change doubters ridiculed by by environmental advocates, concerns about the global competitive impact of being a carbon control leader, and uncertainties surrounding market function, pricing and cost to consumers… Sound familiar?
Now imagine it all in Paul Hogan’s accent instead of in the halls of the Capitol, and you have the Australian debate over cap-and-trade legislation.
NYT runs a story that gives evidence of one of the major obstacles to getting real global energy reform, the “you first” problem.
The story notes, “Conservatives say [the country] should not commit itself to any target before the world’s biggest emitters — China and the United States — lay their cards on the table, and a successor to the Kyoto agreement, which expires in 2012, is reached.”
Friday, June 12th, 2009
Several recent pieces – led by David Roberts’ posting at Grist – report that “the worst kept secret in DC” is that there’s “no way” the Senate is passing a climate bill this year.
Surprised? After all, as Roberts and Bradford Plumer at TNR point out, energy reform was once Obama’s “number one priority.” Is it conceivable that a President with 65+ approvals and the iconic status of Obama could fail to get his number one priority through Senate that has a fillibuster-proof majority from his own party, less than six months after taking office? (more…)